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Warren Gatland believes South Africa can beat England in the Rugby World Cup final after his Wales side came up agonisingly short in a 19-16 semi-final defeat.
A humble Gatland admitted that the better side won on the day, with South Africa sucking the life out of Wales by slowing the pace with their inch-perfect tactical kicking, and fly-half Handre Pollard delivered the crushing blow to Wales four minutes from time by kicking his fourth penalty of the night to put the Springboks into their third World Cup final.
Having now had experience of playing both England and South Africa within the last 10 weeks, Gatland believes the South Africa that his side came up short against have what it takes to match England even though the convincingly beat New Zealand on Saturday in the tournament’s opening semi-final clash.
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“They have the physicality to match England. I thought England were outstanding last night but they have a very good chance. They might have to be a bit more expansive the way they want to play. They had a pretty simple game plan tonight in terms of the scrums and box kicking from De Klerk and Pollard.
“It was very effective and for them it was about making the final and doing whatever it took to do that.
“We have seen in previous World Cups that teams sometimes play their final in semi-finals and don’t always turn up for a final.
“So it will be interesting to see how England are next week and it can be a good game.”
Gatland accepted that Wales just came
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